March 15, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. W. M. MARTIN.

should be made immediately. The hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) said that the one thing that he wanted was that the appointment should be made at once, and others have asked that it should be made immediately. Now, we have the hon. gentleman who has moved the amendment taking the ground that there is no necessity for an immediate appointment to the board, and other hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House have also taken the same ground. I promised that I would not take up any length of time in debating this question at this late hour. I would like to put myself on record in this way: I believe, first of all, that the board should have a man thoroughly acquainted with western conditions. Western conditions are certainly very dissimilar in a great many respects from eastern conditions. Secondly, granted that the new member for that board should be a westerner, and my hon. friend opposite apparently now considers that he ought to be a westerner, then I consider that the man who would be most in sympathy with western conditions and needs would be a farmer of the west. Man for man I suppose that the farmers of the west come into more immediate contact with the railway companies than persons belonging to any other part of the Dominion. Farmers ship their own wheat, order their own cars and come into actual communication and business nego-* tiations with the railway companies. They understand the immense difficulties that they are up against in the shipment of their wheat. They know what delays to their cars mean, they know what the difficulties are in getting the right kind of cars, they know the difficulties in the way with regard to the weighing of their grain and they are familiar with all other questions in connection with the shipment of their wheat. Only the farmers, I contend, can look at these questions from the farmer's point of view. It has been said over and over again in this House this evening that the farmers are very important members of the community and should carry very great weight in it. They are entitled to more representation than they have at the present time. We have heard a very able speech this afternoon upon the question of proportional representation. I regret to say that in the nature of things the farmers are unable to get proportional representation in this House, but hon. gentlemen opposite could very well give them proportional representation in the administration of the affairs of this country and particularly I think the government could give them proportional representation by placing one representative farmer from the west on the Railway Board. I trust they will reconsider their decision and that they will vote in favour of the motion proposed by my hon. friend from Macdonald declaring that the

appointment to the Railway Commission should be made immediately, that the person to be appointed should be a western man and a practical farmer.

Topic:   $531,000,000 COMMONS
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